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All posts tagged schools

Let’s talk about storage and re-charging of laptops and tablets within school…

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Whether it is tablet or laptop, storage and recharging of equipment is such an important necessity for the classroom.  You need your equipment full to the brim with power from first thing in the morning and need them to last until lessons are finished.

There are a couple of solutions for charging – either over night or when not in use in a secure storage unit; or at a desk, specifically designed for charging during operational hours, but the devices need to be securely locked away when not in use.

How manageable is your current set up?

Are you continually frustrated with devices not turned off properly, with devices not charging, students having to share equipment between two or three due to lack of power?  If this is the case, then smart monitoring of your charging stations is a must, so that you can ensure all devices within the units are plugged in correctly.

There are many considerations to take when selecting device storage.  Do you want:

  • Storage that allows charging to happen whilst the machines are not in use?
  • Simple overnight storage – no re-charge needed?
  • A dedicated storage area, or are they going to be stored within various classrooms depending on where last used?
  • Devices to be transportable from one part of the school to another?
  • ‘Soft-start’ charging where not all the devices are charged on full power at the same time?
  • Monitoring of charging units?

With so many questions, I am hoping the selection below will help you see through the multitude of metal boxes and help answer a few of them.

There are four main elements that need considering before you make your purchase:

Space; Security; Size; Power

Space & security – Where are you going to store the devices?  Are they going to be in a locked room or will they need to lock within the unit themselves?  The units need ventilation, so having them next to a printer, in a corner of an office, might not be the best solution.  What volume of devices do you need?  This is a huge consideration, as the space they need to take up to charge can be quite immense, and space is a premium in most educational establishments – so look at solutions such as wall mounting, stacking and portable.

Size – this is key to both static and portable units.  If devices need to be transported from classroom to classroom, then an easy to move, slim unit is ideal.  Too wide – and you might not fit through the doorframes.  Too long, and it might not go around the corners.  Too heavy – a staff member may be injured.  If it is static – the space as discussed above is important to consider.

Power – To charge a volume of devices, you will need enough mains sockets available near to the storage solutions.  So double check what is available in your chosen charging locations.  If you have selected a unit with soft start charging, you will need fewer mains sockets available, ensuring that all devices are charged without overloading your circuit.

Smart charging solutions, such as the one supplied by Zioxi monitors the devices being charged.  Once the devices are charged, the system turns off the charging automatically to prolong battery life.

Tablets – Different types of storage

Zioxi supply a compact, aesthetically pleasing solution for charging tablets, Chromebooks and small laptops – the OnView® Charging trolley.  This is ideal for sharing devices with different classrooms and is easy to move around.  I like the fact that it has an automatic shut off once all devices are charged, so it is eco-friendly too. OnView® is a piece of software that connects to your charging unit, it alerts you to devices not being plugged in, so you can be sure that all devices are accounted for and charging ready for the next day.
Zioxi tablet charging cabinet

Probe Multidoor units charge devices in individual locker drawers (padlock, keypad or key).  This works well with independent learning, as students are able to come and go from the unit as and when they need their tablet, whilst their Singledoor units are better designed for whole classroom usage.  Each locker can have a power socket within it, so different types of tablet can be housed safely whilst charging, as long as the user remembers to bring their charger!


Probe Tabbox Locker

For primary schools, tablet baskets are ideal.  LocknCharge® make iPad, ChromeBook and Android storage and transport simple and manageable.  Using baskets, which hold 5 units, the tablets slot into the baskets, then the basket slots into the charging rack, which plugs into a single mains socket.  Racks such as the Joey®, are portable and enable you to easily transport devices from one end of the school to the other.


Lock-n-Charge tablet storage

Laptops – Making the most of your storage options

For whole school static storage, LapSafe’s Diplomat solution are a great option, as they are modular, more units can be added as needed.  Having various locking options, can be used in secondary school as well as primary.  Each locker has its own identifier, and using the SmartLine® charging solution, the laptop’s charger is inbuilt into the unit.

Zioxi also make modular units for charging laptops, as well as mobile units to go from classroom to classroom. Utilising USB C charging technology, the need for custom chargers for each laptop is now redundant.  If however, your working with legacy product, then options are available to use manufacturer supplied power supplies. The OnView software allows you to schedule charging times for optimised power usage, enables you to check if the unit is locked, and that all docking stations are utilised.

Zioxi, blue door laptop cabinet

We hope this blog helps with your decision making, there are many other manufacturers out there in the www, take the plunge and have a look, just remember the fundamentals when you are looking for your new storge unit– Space; Security; Size; Power.

Sue Kenneally

Cablers

After our last blog; looking at the considerations you need to apply before you purchase an interactive touchscreen for the classroom, we will now look at three leading brands which offer a range of benefits.

One thing to bear in mind with all screens is the type of warranty provided.  Ideally a manufacturer, on-site de-installation re-installation warranty, which is at least 3 years, but preferably 5 years long as this is a big investment for any institution, and you want to make sure that investment is protected.

With regard to software – look at what is provided by each manufacturer, but bear in mind, most Microsoft applications now have good interactive touchscreen tools.

Also, look at what you have already, migrating to a different software, with a different board, may not suit your staff and your current working parameters.  Calculate how much re-training staff to use a new software will cost, along with your other considerations.

SMART BOARD

Smarttech.com

Every school knows the name Smart, it is almost an institution in interactive products within schools, At some point in a teachers career it is almost certain they will have taught a class using a Smart product and will be familiar with the Smart software suite.

Smart provide a range of boards; from the budget MX series to the professional 6000 and 7000 series’, Smart Board.  Smart Tech utilise a proprietary software with a yearly cost per operator (included for the first year), or a ‘lite’ version which is free giving you flexibility with cost management. 

On first view the screens offer very similar solutions, however the software and flexibility of the 6000 and 7000 series’, offer much more with regards to speaker quality, software availability, sensitivity of the screen, various hardware and inputs/outputs.

Screen sizes throughout their ranges are 65”,75” and 86”.

If you don’t want the unit wall mounted, you will need to purchase a stand – so bear this in mind when pricing up (and some units may not come with a wall mount bracket).

My two personal wins for these boards – the 5 year warranty – this is a huge investment for any school or organisation, you want to make sure that there is some insurance to that investment. Secondly, with the added management tool, schools can send messages to the screens. This is vitally important with new guidance likely to be coming from the Government within the next few years in relation to dealing with an intruder in the school and a ‘Lockdown Process’ needing to be activated.  Using a simple messaging system on the screens, every class can be notified in seconds, and ‘Lockdown’ procedure followed. 

Note: Lots of schools who purchase non-Smart products are still using the Smart Notebook 11 software that they used with their old interactive boards. There are two problems with this firstly: this is not legal and Smart do not allow un-licensed use of their software on other products no matter what other screen manufacturers tell you. Secondly Microsoft systems are now not supporting the old Smart Notebook 11 software so upgrading to the new version is going to cost additional money if you purchase a different product so get quotes on using Smart with non Smart products before you price up alternatives.

My personal opinion is – if the school use Smart software and changing the software used for lessons is unachievable then Smart screens are the best option as the teachers can keep using the software they are comfortable with, combined with hardware it is designed for.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
Smart Board MX Series86”20 – Windows and Mac
10 – Chrome OS
2 15w inbuiltYesYes
(and Lite vers.)
4k Ultra HD  5 years
Smart Board 600086”162 20w inbuiltYesYes (and Lite vers.)4k Ultra HD5 years  

For the full comparison of Smart Board display screen visit: www.smarttech.com/en/products/education-displays/compare

PROMETHEAN

Titanium, Cobalt and Nickel, robust and strong sounding names for a useful all-rounder screen.

If a school didn’t have a Smart interactive board then chances are the school had a Promethean one. These boards would go on forever and many Promethean interactive boards are still in use. Slightly late to the touch-screen market, this hasn’t stopped them developing their technology and the tables in the market saturation race have turned slightly. Promethean are now leading the way in interactive technology, they were purchased by Net Dragon, a Chinese software house a few years ago, benefitting from the incumbent resident UK team who, using their market knowledge to are really pushing the brand forward.

Designed for the classroom specifically, the Promethean Interactive Screens provide their proprietary software free of charge enabling you to use all of the elements of the board without continued payment.  However, Schools who have Smart software can import the lesson into Prometheans’ Active Inspire software so continuity in teaching is not jeopardised.

There is an add-on purchase for the screens –  the Chrome box, which provides access to Google Play Store and all associated apps. This would be another consideration in the cost as a bolt on if you need that functionality. 

My two wins – the fact that the software is included, you therefore get what you pay for, without any hidden costs.  Secondly these screens add huge value with the integrated features, the mirroring feature is the best I have used and being able to download apps to dynamically change the way teachers teach is a huge advantage.

The Promethean screen is in my opinion the best hardware for your money and with the backing of Net Dragon, investment into these screens is going to continue even within a recessed market.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
Titanium86”202YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years
Cobalt65”202YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years
Nickel86”152YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years

For more information on the screens, visit www.prometheanworld.com, sadly there isn’t a comparison chart, but very detailed tech sheets that you can flit between.

IIYAMA

Iiyma was formed in 1973 making components for TV monitors and have created niche markets for their speciality monitors and screens throughout their history. It is no surprise then that the Iiyama interactive touchscreens are a good reliable proposition certainly when compared to other budget brands.

My two wins for this manufacturer are: Most budget brands are offering 3 year warranties for their screens, probably due to the use of cheaper components to be able to be competitive in the lower end market. Iiyama however use their expertise and manufacturing scale to deliver a great product with a 5 year warranty.  The second is their website – easy to use tick boxes to select the screen (size, add-ons etc) you are looking for without having to trawl through pages of information.  You can then just look at those which are relevant to your needs.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
ProLite TE9803MIS98”202 x 12WYesYes- free4k Ultra HD5 years
ProLite TE80603MIS86”202 x 10WYesYes- free4k Ultra HD5 years
ProLite TE7503MIS75”202 x 10WYesYes – free4k Ultra HD5 years

For the full comparison of Iiyama screens visit: www.iiyama.com, use the tickbox menu to shortlist your selection, then you can create a comparison chart of your chosen few.

Sue Kenneally

Cablers Ltd

 
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